br hermodThe book "Heritage Building Information Modelling" is a clear, useful and practical presentation on the topic of applied BIM. Whereas traditional BIM thinking is highly linked to new infrastructure, heritage sites require deeper BIM integration and thought with respect to data capture, management and operations both present and into the future. In a sense, this book shows where BIM needs to go and shines a light on what BIM should ultimately become. 



Heritage Building Information Modelling


Edited by

Yusuf Arayici, John Counsell, Lamine Mahdjoubi,

Gehan Ahmed Nagy, Soheir Hawas, Khaled Dweidar



280 pages | 2017  ISBN: 9781138645684

Reviewed by

Jeff Thurston


The digital conversion of building design has been underway for some time, and to a lesser extent has it been connected with existing buildings, particularly those of historical and cultural significance. "Where building information modeling (BIM) is being used, the focus is still very much on design and construction. However, its use as an operational and management tool for existing buildings, particularly heritage buildings, is lagging behind."

Heritage Building Information Modeling directly presents on several main topics. After an extensive introduction to HBIM, the core themes of the book are arranged into four parts:

  • Restoration philosophies in practice
  • Data capture and visualisation for maintenance and repair
  • Building performance
  • Stakeholder engagement

There is a continuing global debate that has been ongoing for a while now that surrounds the definition of BIM: As previously mentioned, most of conversation has tied to design and construction. This book expands upon those areas and aims directly at operational management sides of the discussion. Many heritage buildings do not, usually, have existing CAD drawings and are at the outset, non-typical for eBIM related applications and considerations. 

And while techniques such as laser scanning and photogrammetry will be used to develop 3D models in these cases, so too will operational information related to maintenance, cleaning, repairs and other kinds of activities. Thus, HBIM in this case involves more than the physical structure, it includes information about the whole building activity. Such information brings with it the increased ability to restore, preserve and refurbish already existing historical structures. This might be seen to include materials, methods and services used within these buildings that need and require special circumstances and considerations - making them unique.

A major consideration for HBIM practitioners is linked to the fact that these structures are expected to last a long time, perhaps forever. Consequently, HBIM in this context also provides a source of information about these infrastructure that can be interpreted, understood and organized for future generations. This all sounds easy, but it is not. Clarity of purpose, authenticity and authoritative developments are needed to keep such records, and to connect them digitally. 

Since infrastructure may extend beyond buildings to include territory, land and accompanying surroundings for some heritage sites, it is noted that HBIM must also be capable of extending outside structures to include these areas in relation to the overall site. Undoubtedly, a clear framework for initiating and operating HBIM is needed. This may include inventory, near real-time data, semantic information and an understand of the question "How much is model?"

Information used in HBIM will be located and geo-referenced, and it may include persistant data as well as photographs, video, plant IDs, prints, paintings, historic text and references to the kinds of queries that might be asked of such sites. In a sense, one can begin to see regular BIM discussions being expanded through the modeling, by example, of heritage facilities. Perhaps they are the forerunners of what an operational BIM should be?

Under normal mapping circumstances, a map is used to represent reality. But in a heritage building context, some of what was there may have eroded, been destroyed or is missing. How can that be mapped? How should it be mapped? On the other hand, associations are constantly being made to the present and will also arise in the future. The dynamic nature of heritage facilities must also be considered and recorded - not to mention being understood in a clear, logical manner. These are not easy tasks, and will need to be taken into consideration too. 

Over the years much work has been researched in this area and this book attempts to provide the details of those efforts including documentation, 3D laser scanning, procedures and methods and masonry evaluations. Special case studies involing Egyptian sites are included in this text including a special emphasis on bridges and transport corridor infrastructure. The later sections of this text present on data capture techniques, data evaluation and simulation potential for heritage building applications. 

In summary,  "Heritage Building Information Modelling" is an important reference for those architects, preservation specialists, heritage related individuals and history students and crafts people involved in working with such sites. It is a comprehensive study of existing methods based on real-world work and research. It also addresses organizational needs for completing these projects successfully. In my view, this book ought to be read by anyone involved in this kind of activity because it is so helpful and useful - make time to read this, you will learn much.